‘Oratio Imperata,’ ringing of bells mark urgency of Church plea vs Negros bloodshed
ILOILO CITY—Church bells on Negros Island will start ringing daily at 8 p.m. starting on Sunday (July 28) to call for an end to the bloodshed that is now gripping Negros Oriental province and claimed the lives of at least 13 persons in just five days.
The four Catholic bishops in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental on Saturday (July 27) issued a joint pastoral statement condemning the killings and calling on the faithful to pray an Oratio Imperata (obligatory prayer) for an end to the bloodshed.
“This unfolding cycle of violence and vendetta is a matter of grave concern for us. How many more killings will it take for us to be able to hear these cries, and be moved to say, we are our ‘brother’s keeper’?” the Negros bishops said.
The joint pastoral statement was issued by Bishops Gerardo Alminaza (San Carlos), Julito Cortes (Dumaguete), Patricio Buzon (Bacolod) and Louie Galbines (Kabankalan).
“As your pastors, we unequivocally denounce this total disregard for the primacy and sanctity of human life,” they said.
The bishops directed the ringing of church bells every 8 p.m. in all parishes, chaplaincies, mission stations, and religious houses in the four dioceses.
“In the stillness of night, the tolling of the bells signifies our communion as Church. We are to remember those who have gone before us – including those whose lives have been snuffed by these killings – they, who are our brothers and sisters,” the prelates said.
Five persons including a city councilor and a former town mayor were separately gunned down overnight on Saturday in Canlaon City and the towns of Ayungon and Siaton.
On Thursday (July 25), gunmen shot dead seven persons in Guihulngan City and Sta. Catalina towns.
Among those killed on Thursday was one-year-old Marjon Ocampo who died along with his father Marlon after gunmen barged into their house in Barangay San Jose in Sta. Catalina town, about 97 kilometers west of Dumaguete City, the provincial capital.
The Philippine National Police blamed some of the attacks on New People’s Army rebels.
But the Communist Party of the Philippines condemned the violence against civilians in the province and accused the military, police and paramilitary forces of being behind the attacks. WITH A REPORT BY CARLA P. GOMEZ /tsb
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